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A Dark, Dark Tale (Red Fox Picture Books)
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A Dark, Dark Tale (Red Fox Picture Books)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  300 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Children will delight in following the black cat's progress through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery at the back of the toy cupboard, in this mysterious, beautifully illustrated picture book.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 16th 1992 by Red Fox (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 530)
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Absolutely love this book. Not enough words to be a level 1 reader, but a cute, creepy, story that's just in time for the Halloween season coming up. I'm so looking forward to autumn! The pictures are dark and creepy and fun, and my 5 yr old got to learn some new words like "moor" and "passage". For some reason, I seem to remember Ruth Brown as writing some other books I enjoyed as a child, I'll have to look her up and see if I can't get some more from the library! Great addition to our library!
Lisa Vegan
Well, I thought the dark cat was cute, until the very end at least. And, I liked this throughout, until maybe the end. The end was a surprise, and it was welcomed as it added a bit of zing to the story. But, it made the cat seem less adorable to me, and when I got to the end, I found myself thinking well what was the point of that, even though I saw the point. For very young children the repetition and the telling of the tale with very few words really works, and older children can enjoy this st ...more
This is a tale which begins out on a 'dark dark moor' and follows a sequence moving from the moor, to a wood, to a house, to a door, to the inside of the house etc. The story leads us through the house to a box within which lies a surprise for the reader. The surprise is not all that exciting and doesn't really relate to the rest of the story. The story ends once the box is opened and we see what is inside.

The words 'dark dark' are repeated throughout the story as all of the items are described
Mel Jennings
In the wood there was a dark, dark house, at the front of the house there was a dark, dark door. This book will encourage children to join in if being used as a read aloud story book. With its use of repetition on every page, children can become the story tellers. Follow the pages all the way to the end to discover what is hiding in the dark, dark box. Encourage the children to use their imaginations as you make your way through this story, there are lots of opportunities for the children to eng ...more
Preschool and primary students will love this atmospheric picture book. It's great for a experiencing print: have your child spot the black cat in every page and guess where he's going next. Talk about how the setting (night in an old, abandoned house) and inky, gothic pictures contribute to the scary mood.(Well, don't use those exact words...) Repeat the "dark, dark" part. This is an ever-so-slightly scary tale that most 4 and 5 year olds will enjoy without fear. Recommended for any home or sch ...more
Hannah Rich
Eeeeryyyy!!!! I honestly felt like I was actually walking through a haunted house just by looking at these illustrations! As you flip from page to page, the reader gets focused in on a more specific piece of information about this abandoned residence located in the middle of the woods. I feel like this book would bring a sense of curiosity to young readers because they would want to find out for themselves what lies in that house. The use of dark colors and double page illustrations makes the sp ...more
Emily Lloyd
The dark dark tale is a book based on a progression through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery of a mouse inside a toy box. We did the book for two weeks for our literacy lesson in year one. I do not recommend this book very highly as the children didn't really like the concept of the dark dark tale. I also found it confusing for the children as they were encouraged to think about the main character of the dark dark tale. There isn't really a main charac ...more
Julia Wickenden
A Dark, Dark Tale is a very good picture book. Some of the story can only really be picked up by looking at the pictures, and the pictures are dark and atmospheric. There is a repeated motif which makes it easy for children to engage.

A cat goes on a journey through a dark, dark wood, into a dark, dark house, into dark, dark rooms and a dark, dark cupboard, where he finds a dark, dark box. Inside the dark, dark box is a surprise...

A Dark, Dark Tale could be used as a stimulus for writing in EYFS
Maya Benberry
The title explains exactly how the book is. The words "Dark, Dark" are repeated throughout the story. For example, "In the wood there was a dark, dark house, at the front of the house there was a dark, dark door." This book will encourage children to join in if being used as a read aloud story book. With its use of repetition on every page, children can become the story tellers. Follow the pages all the way to the end to discover what is hiding in the dark, dark box. The end of the story comes a ...more
I love the dark, subdued gray-greens, the depictions of the woods and the old house. These are colors, and a style of illustration, that have resonated strongly with me since childhood.
Do you think that if monsters really exist that there might be a monster out there licking his lips and thinking about YOU? And what if that monster is coming to find you? Riding his bicycle through a dark forest on his way? What if he is thinking about what you might taste like with ketchup as he wades through the gloopy swamp? What if he thinks about you on toast while tiptoeing through thorns? He’s getting closer and closer… you aren’t scared are you? Are you?

Filled with great noises and ways
Chelsea Gail Smith
A Dark Dark Tale written and illustrated by Ruth Brown was a fun, almost suspenseful read. Every page described something as "dark,dark." While I was reading this, I thought that some children might be a little scared of the story because it was dark, the illustration's were dark, and everything was being described as dark. I remember when I was a child I was very scared of the dark. I think this is a good story to show that your should not be scared of the dark. The illustrations were very deta ...more
This fun and spooky tale would make a great Halloween time (or anytime!) read-aloud for young classrooms everywhere. The dark, muted colors used in the cover illustration are the perfect way to set the musty, eerie tone that is carried very well throughout the book. From the very first page the reader is pulled in to this suspenseful story, slowly following the narrator on to each page. This story uses repetition from beginning to end with the words “dark, dark,” which are used on every page to ...more
This book is a picture book with the theme of Halloween making it unique and good for the children who like spookier story lines. This book is not scary, however, so it is still appropriate for young age groups. This book is also a pattern book repeating the phrase"...a dark, dark,,," keeping the reader involved and wanting to know what happens on the next page. The repetition makes for good page turners. The end of the story comes as a surprise to the reader and also adds to the uniqueness of t ...more
Joseph Seo
This book is very dark like the title says. It has a scariness that children would love in a book. This is definitely a good Halloween read. Ruth Brown does a good job of making the book not too scary for children, but just enough. The words "dark, dark" is repeated in every page and it adds a creepy effect to the book. You follow a black cat from the woods and inside the house. Everything in the house is dark and creepy. Page after page it gets even more suspenseful except the ending. The illus ...more
The picture book, "A Dark, Dark Tale," by Ruth Brown takes children through this dark and scary house into a room by following this black cat. The repetition on each page is, "a dark dark..." The black cat starts in the woods, enters a house, which eventually leads to a room where a tiny mouse is sleeping in a box. This shows children that they should not be afraid of the dark! It may seem scary, but in all actuality it is not. I think this picture book would be great for children ages 3-5. Also ...more
Blair Herron
Patterned/Predictable Book:

Definitely can see why it falls under the category of predictable since the beginning of each sentence starts out the same and you can get a sense for where the plot is headed. Children and Adults alike could certainly tell what the beginning of each sentence would be since it was repeated each time. The illustrations do a wonderful job depicting the story line because with each new element that is added it is shown in the pictures opposite of the text. This would make
My three-year-old chose this purely because the cat looks like our cat, but it turned out to be a good "Halloween" story for very little kids. It follows the same pattern as the "in a dark, dark room" ghost story, but at the end of this version, there is no ghost but a little mouse.
Danika Meunier
A good story for young ones. Have them find the cat in every picture. Ask the audience should we keep following the black cat? At the end use a mouse puppet to "pop" out and scare them! They will find this very funny. Mice aren't scary at all!
Sarah Sammis
Sean chose A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown for Harriet when we were at the library. It was first published when my brother was three but I don't remember reading the book back then. It feels like a modern picture book so I have to admit to being surprised at its age.

A Dark, Dark Tale builds on a suspense, starting in the forest and following a black cat as he creeps through the forest and into an apparently abandoned old manor. Somewhere in the heart of this house is a dark, dark secret.

Up until
Ruth Lyons
This book is about following the trail to a dark house which has many dark places. Once inside we are led to a dark room that has a box which has a surprise in it for us all. Our guide is a dark colored cat.

This would be good for beginning readers because of the very short and simple words. It would also be a good book to read to 2 and 3 year olds because of its pattern of using the phase " a dark, dark __" to decribe the new place we are introduced to.

The illustrations are done in dark shades o
This book would be perfect to read during October. It follows a black cat in its investigation of a old, dark, abandoned house. This book would be great to use as a read aloud for a model of building anticipation, predictions, and inferring. Students can use the idea of repeating adjectives to add a familiar rhythm to their story as well. Teachers could leave out the last page of the book (the page which revels the mysterious item) and let students write creatively about what could be in the box ...more
Kelsey J.
Cute little tale that was really just a subversion of expectations in the mind of Eastern storytelling, rather than Western with a climax.
The narrator leads you and a black cat through a "dark, dark house" one scene at a time, getting more and more scary, until...
Kaytlyn Rosynek
"A Dark Dark Tale" was a book that would be a good read for young readers. Each illustration on the page told the story, and because the book was a pattern book, young readers could catch on quickly. Even though the illustrations were dark and gloomy at times, the illustrations fit in with the book's title. The picture book went from "One upon a time there was a dark, dark, moor," to "And in the box there was a mouse!" You follow a black cat through the book until you get to the end where the ca ...more
Ecl  Storytellers
A spooky read with a cute ending, i.e. not too scary for little guys. This was a fun read-aloud in K-2.
Paul Terrell
Scary is a good way to put this book. Growing up I was what you may call a sissy when it came to certain things, and I know that this book would have scarred me in some ways. The illustrations are done very well, and they set the mood for the book perfectly. In enjoyed how when you read the book you could tell that you were getting closer and closer to something you were looking for. I loved the ending with the mouse in the box due to the fact that it was funny and made me laugh. I could see thi ...more
The illustrations in this book are very rich. Very dark and spooky.
Gorgeous illustrations and a scary ending, given my phobia!
Sean Parsons
This book is a fantastic say to teach prediction. It is great to read around Halloween because of the mysterious and dark illustrations. The children enjoy predicting what is going to happen next in the story. We will be using this as our first book next year in year one and it will be a nice book to start with as a smooth transition from year 1 to 3. We can explore what could happen next? Why the mouse was there? The feelings you may experience if you were walking this route? this will be used ...more
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Ruth Brown is the creator of some of Britain's best loved children's books. She has created a great many picture books for Andersen Press and is highly respected as an author and illustrator. She is married to artist Ken Brown and they have two grown-up sons and one grandchild.
More about Ruth Brown...
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